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Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found
Mehta, Suketu
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Format: Paperback, 542pp.
Date of publication: Sep 27 2005
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN-13: 9780375703409
Dimensions: 20.37 cm. (length) X 13.31 cm. (width) X 2.46 cm. (thickness)
Weight: 395 grams

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Author Note
Suketu Mehta is a fiction writer and journalist based in New York. He has won the Whiting Writers Award, the O. Henry Prize, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for his fiction. Mehta’s other work has been published in the New York Times Magazine, Granta, Harper’s magazine, Time, Condé Nast Traveler, and The Village Voice, and has been featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Mehta also cowrote Mission Kashmir, a Bollywood movie.


From the Hardcover edition. [Edit review] [Delete review]
Table of Contents
PART ONE * POWER
Personal Geography
The Country of the No
Two Currencies
Powertoni
The 1992–93 Riots
Elections 1998
The Saheb
Mumbai
Number Two After Scotland Yard
Ajay Lal: The Blasts and the Gangwar
Encounter
Black-Collar Workers
Mohsin: The D-Company
Satish: The Dal Badlu
Chotta Shakeel: The Don in Exile

PART TWO * PLEASURE
Vadapav Eaters’ City
A City in Heat
Monalisa Dances
Golpitha
Two Lives: Honey/Manoj
New Year’s Eve
Distilleries of Pleasure
Vidhu Vinod Chopra: Mission Kashmir
Mahesh Bhatt’s Wound
The Struggler and the Goddess
Accused: Sanjay Dutt
Dreamworld/Underworld

PART THREE * PASSAGES
Memory Mines
Mayur Mahal Multipurpose
A World of Children
Sone ki Chidiya
Girish: A Tourist in His City
Babbanji: Runaway Poet
Adjust
Good-bye World
A Self in the Crowd

Afterword
Acknowledgments [Edit review] [Delete review]
From the Publisher
A native of Bombay, Suketu Mehta gives us an insider’s view of this stunning metropolis. He approaches the city from unexpected angles, taking us into the criminal underworld of rival Muslim and Hindu gangs; following the life of a bar dancer raised amid poverty and abuse; opening the door into the inner sanctums of Bollywood; and delving into the stories of the countless villagers who come in search of a better life and end up living on the sidewalks. [Edit review] [Delete review]
Review
“Stunning. . . . A powerful, arresting work. . . . Marvelous.” –Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Narrative reporting at its finest, probably the best work of nonfiction to come out of India in recent years. . . . Mehta succeeds so brilliantly in taking the pulse of this riotous urban jungle.” –The New York Times Book Review

As each individual story unfolds, Mehta also recounts his own efforts to make a home in Bombay after more than twenty years abroad. Candid, impassioned, funny, and heartrending, Maximum City is a revelation of an ancient and ever-changing world.

“What Dickens did for London, what Joseph Mitchell did for New York City, Suketu Mehta has done for Bombay. . . . A candid, extensive, and wholly entertaining portrait.” –San Diego Union-Tribune

“The ultimate insider’s view of Bombay, a roiling and vigorous account that delivers on a seemingly impossible... [More...] [Edit review] [Delete review]
Excerpt
Personal Geography

There will soon be more people living in the city of Bombay than on the continent of Australia. Urbs Prima in Indis reads the plaque outside the Gateway of India. It is also the Urbs Prima in Mundis, at least in one area, the first test of the vitality of a city: the number of people living in it. With 14 million people, Bombay is the biggest city on the planet of a race of city dwellers. Bombay is the future of urban civilization on the planet. God help us.

I left Bombay in 1977 and came back twenty-one years later, when it had grown up to become Mumbai. Twenty-one years: enough time for a human being to be born, get an education, be eligible to drink, get married, drive, vote, go to war, and kill a man. In all that time, I hadn’t lost my accent. I speak like a Bombay boy; it is how I am identified in Kanpur and Kansas. “Where’re you from?” Searching for an answer—in Paris, in London, in Manhattan—I always... [More...] [Edit review] [Delete review]
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